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Bent Larsen vs Mikhail Tal
Larsen - Tal 3rd place Candidates Playoff (1969), Eersel NED, rd 5, Mar-17
King's Indian Defense: Orthodox Variation. Classical System Misc. Lines (E98)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 2 OF 2 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Nov-05-03  ughaibu: Okay that's no good cause of the queen exchange on g4. How about 25....Nd4 26.Qc3 f3 27.Bd3 Ne2 28.Be2 e2 29.Ke2 Bg4 30.Ke1 Rf3?
Nov-05-03  AgentRgent: <Ughaibu: 24. Nf2 Nf3+ 25. Kd1 Nd4 26. Qc3 f3 27. Bd3 Ne2 28. Bxe2 fxe2+ 29. Kxe2 Bg4+ 30. Ke1 Rf3> 31. Qc4 Bf6 (planning Bh4, is there better?) 32. Nxg4!? Bh4+ 33. Nf2 Bxf2+ 34. Kd1 Bc5 (to prevent Rc8+) 35. Rxf3 Qxf3+ 36. Qe2 and again I think white holds on to win.
Nov-05-03  ughaibu: AgentRgent:: Going back to your original line with 25.....Nh2, instead of 26.....Nf1 how about f3?
Nov-05-03  AgentRgent: <Ughaibu: 24. Nf2 Nf3+ 25. Kd1 Nxh2 26. Nxh3 f3> It's an interesting try, but Black has invested so much material that White can readily give some back to relieve the pressure. 27. Rf2!? fxe2+ 28. Rxe2 Qf1+ (28...Qxh3 30. Qc8+ ) 29. Be1 Nf3 30. Qc8+ Rf8 (30...Bf8 31. Rc7! Nd4 32. Qg4+ ) 31. Qe6+ Kh8 32. Rc7 Nd4 33. Qg4!
Nov-05-03  Brian Watson: Humph! and i thought my anaylsis was so clever. Missed 28.Be3.

AgentR, in your rebuttal you have 29..Qg1. Does 29..Bh6 instead work? I'm finding this hard to do in my head, but i'm thinking both 30.Bxh6 Qxf2 and 30.Bxd4 Bxc1 are better for black.

Nov-05-03  Brian Watson: by the way,is there some kind of incantation to invoke an analysis by Crafty?
Nov-06-03  DWINS: Brian, 29...Bh6 doesn't work because of 30.Ng4
Nov-06-03  ughaibu: It would be strange if Larsen hadn't considered Nf2 as, apart from reserving the option on the bishop, it protects e4 which is a key point in white's position. Doesn't Tal examine this game in any of his books?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Benzol: Tal doesn't say anything about this game in 'Life and Games of Mikhail Tal' but the game is annotated in 'Tal's 100 Best Games' by B.Cafferty. The line given is 24.Nf2 Nf3+; 25.Kd1 Nd4; 26.Qc3 and wins. It's interesting that Tal played this line again later in the Soviet Championship in 1969.

See Averkin vs Tal, 1969

Nov-06-03  AgentRgent: Amazing, but it appears that Bent missed the win. In his defense, it was a pretty fierce attack, and it was Tal after all so it's easy to understand the pressure. I am pleased however because Nf2 was my first inclination in the position. Good to see my instincts are sometimes correct.. then again, I wasn't staring across to board at the Magician of Riga either... ;-)
Nov-06-03  tud: How about 24Nf2 f3 25 Bd3 Qh2. Opens any doors ?
Nov-06-03  AgentRgent: <Tud: How about 24 Nf2 f3 25 Bd3 Qh2. Opens any doors ?> I don't think so: 24. Nf2 f3 25. Bd3 Qxh2 26. Nxh3 (again killing the Bishop is key) Qxh3 27. Qc8+ Qxc8 28. Rxc8+ White has a Rook and a Bishop for 2 pawns and Black has run out of threats.
Nov-06-03  MoonlitKnight: And who said that Bent Larsen was the strongest player in the world in 1969?
Nov-06-03  Brian Watson: my suggestion 29..Bh6?? (in the line in question) fails to 30.Bxh6 Qxf2?? 31.Qc8+. This is what happens when you mix crack with chess. Let that be a lesson to the kids out there.
Jan-08-07  Rubenus: <Moonlitknight> This was the only game Larsen lost in a match of eight games. Larsen won four games. No one can say that Tal was the strongest!
Jan-08-07  shalgo: <Rubenus> You are quite right that Larsen won decisively over Tal in this match.

However, <MoonlitKnight> is also right that Larsen wasn't the strongest in the world in 1969. This match was for 3rd place in the Candidates'. Spassky, who demolished Larsen in the semifinal and then beat Korchnoi and Petrosian as well, was clearly better than Larsen in 1969.

Premium Chessgames Member
  scormus: Could resist searching and treating myself to this game. One of my favorite players playing one of my favorite openings.

<AgentRgent> I'm sure you read this right, 24 Nf2 must be winning for W. I dont know how, but Tal seemed able to suspend reality. I'll never cease to be in awe of his .... magic.

Sep-17-12  Albanius: Gligoric's book on the KID Mar Del Plata variation says "The right defense was 24 Nf2 Nf3+ 25 Kd1 Nd4 26 Qc3 and W should win," in agreement with AgentR, but also says B could have taken a draw with 22..Qh4+ (Averkin-Tal 1969)
Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: I'm surprised that there has not been any engine analysis of the position after 24.Nf2. But Houdini 1.5a agrees with Gligoric. Even at low ply (d=22) it indicates that Black is lost ([+7.43] with evals rising) after 24.Nf2 Nf3+ 25.Kd1 Nd4 26.Qc3 Bd7 27.Nc7 Bf8 28.Ke1 Rg7 29.Qa5 h6 30.Qxa7 Be7 31.Bd3 Nf3+ 32.Kd1 Nxh2 33.Kc2 Nxf1 34.Rxf1 Kh7 35.Ne6 Bxe6 36.dxe6.

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I question some of these moves but then I didn't let Houdini search too deeply nor did I do any forward sliding. But White, two pieces up and with his king safe, is clearly winning unless Tal can work up some magic with his two passed pawns. But it would take magic.

Of course we don't know the time remaining on Larsen's clock when he played 24.Be3, possibly a factor. Even the best players in the world at that time (except perhaps Korchnoi) had troubles when trying to meet Tal's magical attacks, specially when short of time, and Larsen had been under pressure since 19...Bh3.

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <AylerKupp> In Cafferty's annotations to this game, it mentions that both players became very short of time (not at all surprising), but I haven't looked at my copy of Cafferty's work in ten years or more. See also <Benzol>'s note of 6th November 2003.
Sep-17-12  RookFile: In some ways, Tal's task was easier, after he sacrificed the rook on move 20. You can forget about quiet positional play, every move needs to be a threat.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Felipe38: So...22-...Qh4! was the corrected movie for Tal in this position keeping in check the white king.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: 34.Qxa7 was a suicide. But the question is whether white can save the Knight in corner after 34.Qc3+ Kg8 35.Qg3+ Qxg3 36.hxg3. It seems to be that Pawn ending after 36...Kf8 37.Nd3 Ke8 38.Nf4 Kd8 39.Ne6+ Kc8 40.Kd2 Kb8 41.Nac7 Rxc7 42.Nxc7 Kxc7 (diagram) is favourable for black.

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Apr-14-20  carpovius: Amazing that people talk about Larsen defence. Nice point! Taking into account that Larsen played White)))
Jun-16-20  Straclonoor: <I'm surprised that there has not been any engine analysis of the position after 24.Nf2.> I'll fill this space. Here is the line

+- (9.98): 24.Nf2 Nf3+ 25.Kd1 Nxh2 26.Nxh3 Nxf1 27.Qc8+ Rf8 28.Qe6+ Kh8 29.Rc8 Nxd2 30.Kxd2 f3 31.Rxf8+ Bxf8 32.Qf6+ Kg8 33.Qxf3 Qxf3 34.Bxf3 Bh6+ 35.Kc2 Kf7 36.Nc7 Ke7 37.Nf2 Be3 38.Ng4 Bf4 39.Ne6 h5 40.Nf2 Be3 41.Nd1 Bg1 42.Bxh5 Kd7 43.Kd2 Kc8 44.Ne3 Bxe3+ 45.Kxe3 Kb8 46.Ng7 Kc7 47.Nf5 Kd7 48.Bg4 Kc7 49.Kd3 Kd7 50.Ng7+ Kd8 51.Kc2

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